Basic chastity is a foundation for society – and immorality ceases to be criminal when the people are ripening for destruction

The Lord destroyed various peoples for violating basic morality and decency even if those people didn’t have the gospel at all. Not only did their religion not warn these people, but in fact, it seems that it was not uncommon for the Lord to destroy people for things that were actively endorsed by their religion. We see that laid out plainly when the Lord is speaking to the Israelites through Moses and tells them what practices he destroyed the heathen nations that preceded them for. We also see it in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
These people were destroyed for violations of basic morality. They were held accountable for violating basic morality, for certainly destroying people is holding them accountable, and therefore the Lord knew that, in their hearts, these people knew better. We are not held accountable for what we do no know.
Apparently basic morality is something that the Lord considers everyone to have sufficient light to be held accountable for simply by the fact that they have the light of Christ. And he has destroyed nations precisely for violating that light. Thus decency and morality are foundational parts of society. Everyone has enough light to live them, even if many choose to reject them.
We see this illustrated nicely in the Book of Mormon
Alma 30: 9 Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him; but if he did not believe in him there was no law to punish him.
10 But if he murdered he was punished unto death; and if he robbed he was also punished; and if he stole he was also punished; and if he committed adultery he was also punished; yea, for all this wickedness they were punished.
11 For there was a law that men should be judged according to their crimes. Nevertheless, there was no law against a man’s belief; therefore, a man was punished only for the crimes which he had done; therefore all men were on equal grounds.
There we see it clearly taught that adultery was a crime, like stealing, that people were punished for. It was punished as a crime, not as a religious matter, because morality is part of the basic principles of society.
Many people now have deluded themselves into thinking that since morality is taught in the scriptures this violates separation of church and state. But morality and decency are fundamental pillars of society, in addition to being religious principles. Thus we see it being punished here as a crime while the prophet makes it perfectly clear that doing so was not a violation of separation of church and state.
Now when most people are righteous, the society will choose laws that enforce decency and morality. They will make violations of these into crimes just as we find in the Book of Mormon.
But when the people become wicked, they are no longer listening to the light of Christ, they are no longer listening to their conscience, and so they choose to change the laws to allow for indecency and immorality.
And THAT is a major reason that when the voice of the people is choosing evil they are ripening for destruction. When the voice of the people is choosing evil they revoke laws for decency and morality, and then the floodgates open to that sort of misbehavior.
And that sort of misbehavior is exactly what the Lord said he destroyed the heathen nations that preceded the Israelites for. Once the laws no longer reflect the light of Christ that all men have, then the laws are changed to allow indecency and immorality, and the path is opened for the nation to follow the heathen nations down to destruction for violating the laws that God holds all men accountable for.

Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second

There is a Book of Mormon verse we never talk about.
Alma 43: 46 And they were doing that which they felt was the duty which they owed to their God; for the Lord had said unto them, and also unto their fathers, that: Inasmuch as ye are not guilty of the first offense, neither the second, ye shall not suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies.
Now THAT is an interesting doctrine. It says that if you are guilty of neither murder nor adultery then you are not to suffer yourselves to be slain by the hands of your enemies. And of course, what is interesting is the exclusion there. It specifically does not cover those guilty of adultery or murder.
I expect Brigham Young discussed the meaning of it one way or another. It appears to mean that if you are guilty of murder or adultery then you have lost the right to take someone else’s life in defense of your own.
So it does seem that one can lose the right to take a life to protect one’s own life by choosing either murder or adultery. One may find that one’s life may not be forfeit for murder, and it certainly isn’t forfeit for adultery, but either way one’s right to take another life to defend one’s own is apparently lost. It doesn’t mean no one ever did it. Many have. But it states something about what rights we have, how our actions can change them, and how the grand tally will be taken at the final judgement.

Wilford Woodruff speaking of the Signers of the Declaration

Someone posted a painting of the signers of the Declaration of Independence coming to Wilford Woodruff, prompting me to look up the original statement.
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“We have labored in the St. George Temple since January, and we have done all we could there; and the Lord has stirred up our minds, and many things have been revealed to us concerning the dead. President Young has said to us, and it is verily so, if the dead could they would speak in language loud as ten thousand thunders, calling upon the servants of God to rise up and build Temples, magnify their calling and redeem their dead. This doubtless sounds strange to those present who believe not the faith and doctrine of the Latter-day Saints; but when we get to the spirit world we will find out that all that God has revealed is true. We will find, too, that everything there is reality, and that God has a body, parts and passions, and the erroneous ideas that exist now with regard to him will have passed away. I feel to say little else to the Latter-day Saints wherever and whenever I have the opportunity of speaking to them, than to call upon them to build these Temples now under way, to hurry them up to completion. The dead will be after you, they will seek after you as they have after us in St. George. They called upon us, knowing that we held the keys and power to redeem them.

I will here say, before closing, that two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.” These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I thought it very singular, that notwithstanding so much work had been done, and yet nothing had been done for them. The thought never entered my heart, from the fact, I suppose, that heretofore our minds were reaching after our more immediate friends and relatives. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.” Wilford Woodruff, JD 19:229

The men of Sodom threatened Lot because they said he was judging them

Given the scouting decision, we read Genesis 19 today for family scripture study. I hadn’t realized that the men of Sodom say of Lot “This one man came in to sojourn among us, and he will needs now make himself to be a judge; now we will deal worse with him than with them.”

Interesting that the great offense in their city is to “judge” them. Lucifer stirs his followers up against anything that might separate him from them. And his followers hate the truth because it attempts to separate them from their sins. Christ put it this way:

John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

We have enough cowards, we need men like Patrick Henry

“Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

My wife Diane is right. We need the descendants of brave men to feel this way about freedom. We aren’t silent because we are afraid of losing our lives. We are silent because we are afraid of being called names. We watch exciting movies and read books about action heroes, but we are craven cowards. We are afraid of being called names. No sticks or stones need break our bones, names are more than we can take. We don’t love our Savior enough to ensure our posterity can continue to worship him. But we should. And if we did we would find that true charity casts out all fear, and rather than being the lowest of cowards the history of this country has to offer, we would become brave as the spirit of God was poured into us as it was into our ancestors, who gave all to make a free country for their posterity – for us and our descendants.

Short note on the great wars in the book of Mormon

It’s surprising that people can look around at the precarious position our religious freedom is in, and still feel confused about why so much of the Book of Mormon is devoted to the great wars. The great wars were the Nephites defending their freedoms. The great wars demonstrate the effort, deception, and genius that wicked men will put forth to destroy our freedom, and the effort and inspiration that will be required to come off victorious against them. But the inspiration and divine protection only comes for righteous effort. We cannot sit upon our thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor while our enemies are spreading this work around us, and yet still hope to come off the victors.

Celebrating great things by celebrating everything else instead

It’s pioneer day, so just like on mothers day we mostly want to make sure everyone feels equal so we talk about everyone that could be considered a mother but isnt, and on fathers day we want to make sure everyone feels equal so we talk about everyone that could be considered a father but isnt, today everyone has the enormously creative idea to celebrate everyone that could be considered a pioneer but wasn’t.

The prophecies still leave our future open to choose

The fact that God knows the future doesn’t mean that we don’t still choose it. If he reveals something to us, does that mean our choices will make no difference? I think there are a lot of ways the future can play out, and all the prophecies still be fulfilled. We can choose the worst possible route, or we can choose the best possible route.
We know the Savior will not come in a year in which the rainbow is seen, as Joseph Smith explained at least twice. Prophets have given counsel about a years supply since Brigham Young, and we can obey or disobey it. The prophesy will come true, but what it will mean in the lives of the Saints will depend on our choices.
The pioneers knew the dessert would blossom as a rose. But there were a wide range of possible fulfillments for that prophesy. The pioneers innovated and used irrigation to bring water to plants in dessert ground. God knew what they would choose, but it was they who made the choice. Maybe they could have hauled water instead. The prophesy would still have been fulfilled – but the result would have looked a lot different – it would have been far harder on everyone and the dessert wouldn’t have blossomed as well. But it could still have blossomed enough.
We face many coming prophesies found in the scriptures. The vast bulk of us, even many of the best of us seem to feel like it is a play script that is laid out and there is nothing they can do about it. But we can choose how we will fulfill those prophesies.
If we choose apathy, our descendants must suffer for it. God will not simply go “uh oh, better make some adjustments” and fix things to match a divine play script . Our posterity necessarily suffers the blessings or the curses brought by their progenitors actions.
If we choose valiantly and protect our freedoms, our descendants must be blessed for it. Again, God will not react with an “oh shoot, they are messing everything up” and make some changes so the divine plan can proceed as prophesied. Our posterity will be blessed by our actions if we will choose to act valiantly.
There is room in the prophesies for an enormous range of possibilities. The ones that will happen will be the ones that we as a people choose. Our actions are not merely those of puppets with no ability to change the plot or story line. We ARE the plot. We ARE the story line. We are the main character because only we have the Holy Ghost and the priesthood. Because of that, no one can be the hero in our place. We CHOOSE the story our children will enjoy or endure. The only question is what sort of ending will we leave for our children to pick up from?